Who can ever foresee the result of a debate? The unpredictability of the ICJ committee regarding the conclusions on the case defines today’s deliberations. In a swift game of he said/she said the applicants argued feverishly their opinions on the matter, bringing at one point the situation at a standstill.
The advocates of Nicaragua and Colombia were not at all willing to accept the other party’s statements. Additionally, the Colombian lead applicant burst out claiming that Nicaragua is taking the situation rather personally. Other complaints included the fact that the advocates of Nicaragua have no legitimate defense, including in their submissions exaggerated statements with little relevance to the matter. The declaration came as a response to the claim that the fishermen who disrespected the 12 mile conventional limit might have been spies. “If they would have been spies, would they have wasted time peacefully fishing on a tiny boat?!” the advocated asked outraged.
Dissenting opinions were quickly voiced. The representatives of Nicaragua unofficially stated that deliberations are being slowed down by the fact that the other party only concentrates unimportant facts. “There is no need to discuss history. No need to discuss about previous judgments. We should be talking about the infringement of our rights in the exclusive economic zone!” said the Nicaraguan official.
The chairs were also involved in the dispute inquiring this time Colombia. Their question was if the official opinion of the country is that even though they accepted the UN Charter which says that it is superior to the national law, they now want to proclaim the superiority of their Constitution; by extension, does Colombia have the authority to no longer obey an international act?
Colombia based her answer on the fact that at the time of the ratification it could not have predicted the claims of Nicaragua on establishing new limits to the economic exclusive zone in the Caribbean Sea.
What is the result of the debate? Both parties bring to the table influential arguments.
Article by Amalia Alecu